Loosen your apron strings and buckle down for the latest edition of How-Tuesday! This week’s project comes to us by way of Amelia Strader, assistant buyer, museum store associate, and the queen of all things crafty at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco, CA. Amelia is a crocheting superstar and a driving force behind hands-on crafting events, including Craft Bar, at the museum. Read on for tips for making your own apron out of 100% recycled household cast-offs.
This apron design was inspired by a cute apron that my grandmother handmade in the 1950s. As my spin on her apron, I’ve incorporated recycled and upcycled materials. This pattern involves three main stages: fusing plastic bags, creating a plastic ball of yarn, and crocheting borders on the apron with the plastic yarn.
On Thursday, March 4, 2010 at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, we will be hosting another Craft Bar with Etsy Labs @ MOCFA, a free event cosponsored by Etsy. This month’s hands-on project at Craft Bar will feature a crochet project using yarn created from recycled plastic bags, similar to this week’s How-Tuesday project. More details can be found here.
Now let’s get started!
One size fits all
Length: 17″ approximately
Width: 24″ approximately
Ties: 21″ approximately
15 – 20 large plastic bags in white for main color (MC)
10 – 15 large plastic bags in blue for contrasting color (CC)
US K – 10.5 (6.50 mm) crochet hook
3/16” hole punch
Roll of parchment paper
Brown paper grocery bag
Iron and ironing board
Fusing Plastic Bags
1. To create the apron skirt, fuse together three layers of plastic bags in MC. To protect your ironing board, cover with a large sheet of parchment paper. Smooth out plastic bags and place on top of each other. Place them on the ironing board and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Arrange plastic bags so that you create a 13”L x 18”W rectangle.
Set the iron on cotton/linen setting with steam. Slowly move iron over all the layers using steam. Be sure to keep the iron constantly moving and never touch iron directly to the plastic bags. Let the plastic cool and check to see if the layers are fused together. If the layers are not completely fused, reposition parchment paper and go over it with the iron again. Flip plastic over and iron on the opposite side. It takes at least a couple of rounds of ironing on each side for the plastic bags to be completely fused. The plastic bags will shrink a little as you iron them. This is not an exact science, so it is a good idea to test your iron settings on some extra plastic bags. An odor is emitted when ironing the plastic bags, so be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
(More tips on fusing plastic bags can be found here, in Etsy’s video tutorial.)
2. Draw out the apron skirt pattern onto stiff paper or brown paper grocery bag (see technical sketch above for pattern measurements). Don’t worry about sketching out the pattern perfectly.
3. Fold the plastic sheet in half width-wise. Place the pattern on the plastic sheet, making sure to line up the front of the pattern with the folded edge of the plastic. Trace the apron skirt pattern onto the fused plastic sheet with a pen. Cut the apron out with scissors.
4. Punch holes around all sides of the apron skirt. Leave ¼” space between holes and ¼” from center of hole to edge of plastic. Don’t worry about having the same number of punch holes on both sides of the apron.
Creating Plastic Yarn (or “Plarn”)
Use the remaining plastic bags in MC to create a ball of plastic yarn. Fold the plastic bag lengthwise to form a narrow tube. Cut off the top handles and bottom edge of plastic bag. Cut up the rest of the plastic bag into 1” wide segments.
These segments will be loops when unfolded. Loop the loops together to form a continuous chain, and wind into ball. Create a second ball of plastic yarn in CC.
Note: Keep your stitches loose. Using the plastic yarn, crochet the borders on both sides of the apron first, then crochet waistband, and lastly, the crochet bottom hem.
Apron Sides (Repeat for each side)
Row 1: In MC slip stitch into first punch hole at side waist, chain 1, single crochet in remaining punch holes across side to bottom edge of apron, chain 2, turn.
Row 2: Double crochet in each single crochet across to end, chain 1, turn.
Row 3: Single crochet in each double crochet across to end. Fasten off.
Row 1: In MC, make a 21” chain of stitches (creating apron tie). Join to waist at top left crochet border with a slip stitch, chain 1, place stitch marker, single crochet across top of waist to edge of right crochet border, place a stitch marker, chain 21” of stitches, turn, chain 2.
Row 2: Double crochet in each stitch across waistband to end. Fasten off.
Row 3: In CC, single crochet in every double crochet across waistband to end. Fasten off.
Row 4: In CC, join to top of waist, at stitch marker, with a slip stitch, chain 1, (3 double crochet) in the next single crochet, chain 1, *single crochet in the next 3 single crochet, chain 1, (3 double crochet) in the next single crochet, chain 1* repeat from * until stitch marker, end with a single crochet. Fasten off.
Row 1: In MC, slip stitch to right bottom crochet border, chain 1, single crochet across border and punch holes to edge of left bottom border, chain 2, turn.
Row 2: Double crochet in each single crochet across to end, chain 2, turn.
Row 3: Double crochet in each double crochet across to end. Fasten off.
Row 4: In CC slip stitch into first double crochet, chain 1, single crochet in each double crochet across, chain 1, turn.
Row 5: Single crochet in first single crochet, (3 double crochet) in the next single crochet, chain 1, *single
crochet in the next 3 single crochet, chain 1, (3 double crochet) in the next single crochet, chain 1* repeat from *until 2nd to last stitch, end row with a single crochet. Fasten off.
Row A: This row is crocheted into Row 1. With right side facing and waist edge at bottom, join CC with slip stitch to the first stitch of row 1 of bottom hem. Continue to work in row 1, single crochet across bottom hem in spaces of row 1. chain 1, turn.
Row B: Single crochet in the first stitch, (2 double crochet) in the next single crochet, *single crochet in the next 2 single crochet, (2 double crochet) in the next single crochet* repeat from * until 2nd to last stitch, end with a single crochet. Fasten off.
1. Draw out pocket pattern onto stiff paper or brown paper grocery bag (see technical sketch on the right for pattern measurements). Don’t worry about sketching out the pattern perfectly.
2. Place the pattern onto fused plastic sheet and trace with a pen. Cut the pocket out with scissors.
3. Punch holes around all sides of the pocket. Leave ¼” space between holes and ¼” from center of hole to edge of plastic. Don’t worry about having the same number of punch holes on both side of pocket.
4. After crocheting a border on pocket, decide where you want to place it on apron. Trace pocket sides and bottom on onto the skirt. Punch holes about ½” in from trace line.
Rnd 1: In CC, slip stitch to punch hole in top right corner, chain 1, single crochet through every punch hole starting down the right side, join with slip stitch to first single crochet.
Rnd 2: Chain 1, single crochet in every single crochet, join with slip stitch to first single crochet.
Rnd 3: Chain 1, single crochet in every single crochet, join with slip stitch to first single crochet. Fasten off.
Using a yarn needle and CC, stitch pocket to skirt through punch holes. Using a yarn needle, weave in all
Thank you to Amelia Strader from the Museum of Craft & Folk Art for sharing this project with us.